Delving into the romance genre is not for the faint of heart. You can read a lot of really poorly written romances that just drag on and on and never go anywhere. I however like to think that reading the poorly written ones allows you to clearly know a gem when you read one. Lauren Royal’s Amethyst is just that, a gem. (Yes, pun intended!)
Amy Goldsmith (although her real name is Amethyst) is a successful jewelry maker who has quite the unfortunate personal life. She is scheduled to marry a man whom she does not love in two short weeks. To make things worse, he wants her to become a stay at home mom, and give up her career, which she is not ready to do. Although she is stuck, Amy does not want to back out of the marriage for fear of embarrassing her father. She longs for true love, and she gets a glimpse of it when Colin Chase, the Earl of Greystone, enters her shop. Although she feels that he is definitely above his notice, her life is changed when a fire devastates her shop and home and Colin comes to her rescue. He takes her to his home to rehabilitate, and although Colin’s siblings take a liking to Amy, he remains distant and asks her to leave as soon as possible. Amy, however, has begun to have feelings for Colin, and enjoys her time with his family. Unfortunately for her, Colin is betrothed to another woman, who’s dowry has been spent towards the reconstruction of Colin’s castle. Unwilling to break up this monetary agreement despite his attraction, Colin is locked in a battle of wills against Amy, who wants him no matter the cost. Will Colin eventually reconsider and give in to is heart’s desire?
I’ve always enjoyed historical fiction novels that use true events as their backdrop, as opposed to just using a specific time period and developing a story. In Amethyst that true event is the Great Fire of London in 1666. As sad as the event was, it is an excellent plot device that sets the reader on a journey of self discovery with Amy and Colin that we certainly wouldn’t have dreamed of without the amazingly detailed and intricate imagination of Royal.
To me, Amy read as a nod to the modern woman. Your first taste of her modern ideals comes when she stands up to her fiancée, Robert, and expresses her desires to continue being a jeweler. Robert’s jealousy over her jeweling skills are what drive his desire to have her stay at home and give up her occupation. After the fire when Amy is able to escape and meet Colin, she continues to hold onto her ideals that she can run the family jewelry business. Even after finding herself in love with Colin she realizes a marriage between them would end any future she has with her craft. She forces herself to make a tough decision: choose love or her craft. Royal does an incredible job weaving this difficult journey of “staying true to self vs heart” effortlessly. I can honestly say that Amethyst is one of the only historical romance novels that I actually truly believed in the conflict of heart that the heroine and hero go through. Every romance novel I’ve read has a conflict drawing the heroine and hero away from each other, but it’s rare to find one that has to do with something other than conflicting social classes. Amy’s need to continue her craft made for a much more interesting conflict. It was refreshing, honest, and definitely a worthy addition to anyone’s “to read” pile. Go pick up a copy!
5 out of 5 Stars
This is my nineteenth completed review for the Historical Fiction Challenge
Amethyst by Lauren Royal
Novelty Books (2011)
eBook: 869 pages